Fulmer shuffles personnel

Historically, spring practice is a time when Tennessee's football staff gives some underused athletes a look at new positions, and this spring is no exception.

Head coach Phillip Fulmer announced three moves today that he hopes will make better use of Vol personnel.

Safety Mark Jones and tailback Derrick Tinsley have moved to wide receiver. In addiiton, cornerback Corey Larkins has moved to tailback.

Although Fulmer said Jones will spend ''significant time'' at receiver, he added that the 5-9, 185-pound rising senior will continue to figure in the mix at safety since ''he's a guy who can play both ways for us.''

The head man noted that it is ''significant that we moved Tinsley to receiver. We need to get him on the field, instead of over there on the sidelines with me.''

The move of the electrifying Larkins to tailback gives Tennessee a runner with breakaway speed. Or, as Fulmer put it: ''Larkins was moved to see if he's someone who can give us a dynamic.''

Larkins will provide a nice change of pace at tailback, since UT's top three TBs are all power runners -- 215-pound Cedric Houston, 225-pound Jabari Davis and 220-pound Gerald Riggs, Jr. Fulmer noted that Davis ''has lost some weight (15 pounds reportedly) and looks good'' and that Riggs ''could be the most exciting running back of the group.''

Meanwhile ...

* Fulmer said defensive tackle Mondre Dickerson ''could absolutely be a key'' on defense because he has similar attributes to former Vol DTs such as John Henderson, Albert Haynesworth, Rashad Moore, etc.

* Although all three projected starting linebackers -- Kevin Burnett, Kevin Simon and Robert Peace -- will be either limited or sidelined by injuries this spring, Fulmer said he is ''awful pleased with walk-ons Corey Anderson and Nick Wilson.'' Anderson (6-2, 240) signed with UT out of Knoxville's Austin-East High School two years ago but couldn't qualify academically. He enrolled last fall as a walk-on. Wilson, another Knoxville native, is a 6-2, 215-pound sophomore who transferred in from Western Carolina University.

* Tennessee is also short-handed in the secondary. Safeties Rashad Baker and Chris Heath are recovering from injuries, while cornerbacks Jabari Greer and Robert Boulware are running track. Fulmer noted that Baker and Gibril Wilson ''could be the best pair of safeties in the conference.''

* After noting that left tackle Michael Munoz and center Scott Wells are ''established'' as first-team offensive linemen, Fulmer noted that ''the rest of the spots are wide open.''

* Finally, Fulmer said James Banks will work primarily at quarterback this spring as the Vols seek to establish a quality backup to starter Casey Clausen. Because he is one of the team's finest athletes, Banks also will see some action at receiver as the UT staff seeks ways to get the speedy 6-3, 200-pounder on the field more.


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